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Anterior hip replacement is a minimally invasive hip surgery performed to replace the hip joint without cutting through any major muscles. It is also referred to as muscle-sparing surgery because no major muscles are cut enabling a quicker return to normal activity.

Traditionally with total hip replacement, the surgeon makes the hip incision laterally, on the side of the hip, or posteriorly, at the back of the hip. Both approaches involve cutting major muscles to access the hip joint. With the anterior approach, the incision is made in front of the hip enabling the surgeon to access the joint without cutting through any major muscles.


Hip replacement is indicated in patients with arthritis of the hip joint. Arthritis is a condition in which the articular cartilage that covers the joint surface is damaged or worn out causing pain and inflammation.

Some of the causes of arthritis include:

  • Advancing age
  • Congenital or developmental hip diseases
  • Obesity
  • Previous history of hip injury or fracture
  • Increased stress on hip because of overuse


Patients with arthritis may have a thinner articular cartilage lining, a narrowed joint space, presence of bone spurs, or excessive bone growth around the edges of the hip joint. Because of all these factors, arthritis patients can experience pain, stiffness, and restricted movements.


Your doctor will evaluate arthritis based on the characteristic symptoms and diagnostic tests. Your orthopedic surgeon will perform a physical examination, order X-rays and other scans, and also some blood tests to rule out any other conditions that may cause similar symptoms.

Postoperative Care

After traditional hip replacement surgery, you would be instructed to follow hip precautions to prevent your new hip from dislocating. These guidelines are very restrictive and include:

  • No bending or flexing the hip past 90 degrees
  • No crossing of legs
  • Use a pillow between the legs when sleeping
  • Use an elevated toilet seat

With the anterior approach, you will NOT have to follow standard hip precautions. Your doctor will however give you instructions to be followed at home for a faster recovery. These include:

  • Take medications as prescribed to relieve pain and prevent infection
  • Participate in physical therapy to restore hip function and strength
  • Eat a healthy diet and do not smoke to facilitate healing and promote a faster recovery.
  • Contact your doctor if you observe increased swelling or redness in the operated area.
Anterior hip replacement surgery has a lower risk of dislocation post-operatively and since it is a muscle-sparing technique, it ensures a faster recovery with less post-operative pain. The anterior approach also allows patients to use their hip joint normally without any restrictions. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns regarding an anterior hip replacement.
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